How Much Is My Case Worth?
One very common question that we get over and over from our clients is “how much is my case worth?” The personal injury attorneys at Cook, Bradford & Levy are here to help. To help answer this question, we use our personal experience and other tools to estimate how much you can expect out of a settlement or trial.What effects the value of a personal injury case?
There are many considerations that go into deciding the value of a claim. What your lawyer will try to do is to determine the amount of money that fairly compensates for your losses and harms. There are two components to this analysis: (1) the settlement value of a case; and (2) the value of a potential jury verdict. Your personal injury lawyer will use experience as a prediction of what a jury will decide your claim is worth. What makes this a difficult exercise is the fact that a jury verdict is often dependent upon the individuals who get seated in your jury pool.
Jurors bring their own individual biases that can either help or hurt you, and which causes unpredictability. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help estimate the likely outcome of a jury verdict. Only an experienced trial lawyer who regularly takes cases to trial can provide the insight you need to determine this value. If you are interviewing personal injury lawyers, make sure to ask how many cases they have taken to trial and when the most recent case was tried. The answer is important to how your lawyer will help you determine what your case is worth.
Also important is the fact that the settlement value of a claim typically increases the longer the case goes on. Most often, the value of a case will increase as the case gets closer to trial. Some more complicated cases almost never settle before litigation. In some other injury cases, the insurance company will settle the case for ten (10) times what they initially offer.
Ultimately, the decision to settle a claim or proceed with litigation is with the client. Your personal injury attorney will present you will enough information to make an informed decision. You will need to consider the risk and cost of litigation as well as the time it will take to reach a final settlement or verdict.Does it matter if I hire an attorney?
Having a competent attorney can make a significant difference in the settlement value and the trial outcome. If the insurance company knows your lawyer is ready and willing to take your case all the way to trial, they may be less likely to make unreasonably low settlement offers. Therefore, you need a trial attorney that has achieved large verdicts in the past. Attorneys who take cases to trial often receive the best settlement offers.
Calculating what settlement or verdict you can expect is more of an art than science. Some of the important factors include: the severity of your injuries; how your pain and suffering have impacted your life; the economic damages; the size of the insurance policies involved; how your doctors link your symptoms to the crash; any aggravating factors for liability (i.e. drunk driving); the jury perceptions of you and your lawyer; and the jury perceptions of the defendant and their lawyer.
The major insurance companies rely on sophisticated computer programs to determine the value of auto accident claims. Some insurers use a system called Colossus or a similar program. The insurance adjuster inputs the data from your case, and out comes a range of settlement outcomes. It is not personal, you are just a number to the insurance company. The number one priority of the insurance company is to hold on to their money and not pay you the fair value of your claim. This practice, applied to all of the people injured in auto accidents, saves the insurance companies millions of dollars. They do this do almost everyone who gets injured. To level the playing field, you need an attorney who will roll up their sleeves and fight on your behalf.
Our Boulder Car Accident Attorneys have extensive experience helping car accident victims achieve successful outcomes and have a deep understanding of Colorado laws of negligence. If you have been seriously hurt, you need counsel with the experience to sort through your complicated legal and medical issues and stand up to the insurance companies. You need someone who is going to fight to exhaust every possible means of recovery. Contact Cook, Bradford & Levy today at (303) 543-1000 or through our online form for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.